A group of men were hauled off a TUI Airways flight after their disruptive behavior caused a flight to Manchester to divert into Maine, USA.
A January 1, 2022 TUI flight from Cancun to Manchester was diverted to Bangor International Airport (BGR) in Maine due to the disruption from the group. They had been refused alcohol service from flight attendants, but one of them reportedly took a bottle from his carry-on luggage and the group drank from it.
The Washington Post reports that an FBI affidavit filed in the US District Court in Bangor states that Anthony Joseph James Kirby and Damien Jake Murphy, both from Manchester, were charged with ‘Interference with Flight Crew or Attendant’ and assault following disruptive behavior.
‘During the flight the men became loud and disruptive. While the aircraft was over Florida, Kirby, Murphy and the third man made racist comments to the crew and passengers while filming their interactions with the crew and the other passengers with their cameras. The behavior caused the flight crew to change seats,’ the FBI’s incident report said.
“We can confirm that TOM193 diverted into Bangor, Maine due to disruptive passengers on board the flight from Cancun to Manchester on 1st January 2023,” a TUI spokesperson told Manchester Evening News.
The spokesperson continued: “The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our highest priority, and we have a zero tolerance policy to disruptive behavior on our flights. The customers involved were offloaded and the flight then continued its journey home shortly after.”
The US attorney’s office for Maine, which is prosecuting the case, has requested that as both men are foreign nationals, they should be held without bail until their cases are resolved.
If convicted, Kirby and Murphy face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the charge of interference with flight crew, and up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 on the assault charge.